Allan’s Cay, Exumas + The Iguanas!

 

Black Diamond anchored at Allan's Cay.

Black Diamond anchored at Allan’s Cay.

Dec 26th and 27th, 2008

When we got up today and checked the weather report, it was calling for 20 to 25 knots of wind from the East. Not what we were hoping for. We are heading for the Exumas, first stop Allan’s Cay. Our course will have us sailing South East, so we will be close hauling all the way, with heavier winds, so it might be a lumpy ride. The first thing we have to do is find a place to fill the water tanks. We headed out the East channel from Nassau, the tidal stream was coming in from this direction with a strong 3-4 knot current, along with the head on 20+ knot winds. We had to navigate under the bridges that lead to Paradise Island. Our mast height is about 62 feet, and the tallest point in the bridge is 70 feet. More comfortable than the bridges in the intercostal, but we still had to be careful. There was a gas station that was open between the two bridges that we tried approach. But as soon as I turned the wheel, the current and wind took the boat at a good force side ways. We decided not to attempt docking at this gas dock. One of the bridges was less than 200 feet behind the dock. If we made any mistakes we could catch our mast under the low part of the bridge. So we decided to move on, and not too far ahead we found another station. Docking at it was very interesting. We spun the boat around, and had to battle the current and wind again. Luckily there were a few guys there to catch our lines, and secure the boat to the dock. Turns out the station was closed, and these guys were just waiting to clear customs. They had just sailed in from the Turks & Caicos. They were delivering a boat they had purchased from a charter fleet, and were taking it up to Montreal, Canada. There was a water tap there, and we were able to fill up our 400 liters of water there and head out to sea.

You can see navigation can be tricky entering Allan's Cay.

You can see navigation can be tricky entering Allan’s Cay.

The guys wished us luck and warned us it would be lumpy. However, we were fortunate and ride was not too bad at all. We sailed all the way to Allan’s Cay in about 5 hours and made it there an hour before dark. We always try to make it to our destination in the Bahamas before dark. The islands and anchorages are usually littered with rocks, reefs and cays. All of this cruising ground is new to us, and we have never been to these parts before. So better safe than sorry, we have been fortunate and never did go aground or hit anything on this trip so far.

Another beautiful shot, notice our private beach!

Another beautiful shot, notice our private beach!

Arriving to Allan’s Cay was a little tricky, the little bay where everyone anchors is very shallow on both sides and even in the middle. There is a nice hole that is 15 to 20 feet deep, but when we got there we found that 4-5 other boats had already beat us there. So we anchored just ahead of them in about 8 feet of water. That evening when the tide went out, and the winds shifted a little, we were touching the sandy bottom ever so often. We tried to throw out an second anchor to keep us in the deep side, but that was not successful. Nothing too serious, so we decided to stay where we were for the night. The next morning, most of the boats pulled up anchor and left, so we moved into a nice hole right next to a boat called Onda from Australia. Funny thing was we met up with this boat a few weeks ago in Cape Canaveral.

The boys really got use to this life style.

The boys really got use to this life style. Notice their shark tooth necklaces.

I must say that we felt as if our vacation really started in the Exumas. This is what we dreamed it would be like. The weather was much warmer, less windy from here on, and islands and anchorages are unbelievable. Just check out the pictures that we have taken in the Exumas from here on. We had a wonderful time at Allan’s Cay, loved the beach, snorkeling, swimming and of course the Iguanas.

Posing with the Iguanas of Allan's Cay.

Posing with the Iguanas of Allan’s Cay.

There would be dozens all around you.

There are dozens all around you at any given time.

The Iguanas are very tame.

The Iguanas are very tame.

Roxane thinks they are ugly.

Roxane thinks they are ugly.

The boys think they are cool...Alexander's favorite part of the trip.

The boys think they are cool…Alexander’s favourite part of the trip.

Thomas ponder what to do about the Iguanas.

Thomas gives this island a thumbs up.

The island boasts no human population, true of many of the islands in the Exumas. But more impressive is the population of over a hundred Iguanas. At first we were a little scared of them, we heard they may bite by accident, their eye sight is not very good, and often mistake feet and fingers for food. But soon the children got very comfortable with them. We feed them bread and carrots, it’s all we had to spare, but they loved it. After a couple of days on the island, the kids got very comfortable playing with them, and just building a sand castle and simply ignoring the dozens of Iguanas all around you. They also realized that if you dropped anything they would run and taste it, wondering if it was food. So Thomas would run around and drop his plastic shovel and watch the Iguana run toward it. Then Alexander would chase them away. Alexander even chased them on all fours, soon the Iguana were actually afraid of the kids. When another boat pulled up to feed the Iguanas, they were none to be found, they were too scared to come out. I know this was a little cruel, but I am sure once we left they would go back to their normal habits.

Alexander having fun snorkeling.

Alexander having fun snorkeling, with Black Diamond in the background.

Alexander finds his own conch.

Alexander finds his own conch.

Ed and Thomas find 5 conch for dinner.

Ed and Thomas find 5 conch for dinner.

Alex showing off the conch.

Alex showing off the conch.

Two perfect conch shells.

Two perfect conch shells.

Thomas and I snorkeled the whole bay and saw many interesting creatures. We also caught 5 large conch, and we decided we were going to eat them for dinner that night. We invited the cruisers from the boat Onda over to our boat for some conch and wine that evening. I cleaned the conch for the first time in my life. I got some instructions from various people on this trip, and took my stab at it literally. Then Roxane fried them up in some batter, and they were pretty tasty. Even the other cruisers from Onda agreed, it was the best Conch they had in the Bahamas.

Hammering a little hole in the conch to cut the muscle loose. Then it just slides out.

Hammering a little hole in the conch to cut the muscle loose, then it just slides out.

A little more cleaning, then in the fryer.

A little more cleaning, then in the fryer.

Enjoying the conch and some wine with the other cruisers from Onda.

Enjoying the conch and some wine with the other cruisers from Onda.

The next day before we left we explored a couple of the other little islands in the same bay. You can see a few of the pictures of Black Diamond anchored in this beautiful paradise like setting.

Dinghy on the beach.

Dinghy to the beach.

Exploring the Allan's Cay.

Exploring Allan’s Cay. Onda in the background.

A great view.

A great view on our little hike.

The kids looking for coconuts.

The kids looking for coconuts.

Exploring the windward side of the island.

Exploring the windward side of the island.

Another nice view.

Another nice view.

Thomas taking a break after a busy day exploring.

Thomas taking a break after a busy day exploring.

s/v Black Diamond

I have been boating for over 25 years, at the age of 43, this is more than half of my life time. Starting out with a number of smaller power boats, then switching to sail about 8 years ago. I have sailed various boats from wind surfers, dinghies (lasers), keel boats from 26 to 45 foot yachts. I live in the area of Toronto Canada and sail mostly on Lake Ontario. I have been racing yachts for the past 7 years. I have also entered many long distance races such as the Fort Lauderdale to Charleston, completed in 2 days 8 hours, we received 4th place in division, 8 minutes in PHRF behind a 3rd place trophy. Then 4 times finishing the Susan Hood, a 75 mile over night race, 4 times entered in the Lake Ontario 300 the worlds longest fresh water race, a 308 knotical mile race around the perimeter of Lake Ontario. My crew and I on Black Diamond finished in 2 days 12 hours in 2009. In 2009, delivering the boat back up to Canada from the Bahamas we entered in a couple of interesting races, one from Fort Lauderdale to Charleston described as a sled ride up the gulf stream, the Charleston race week regatta series and the New Year's Day Staniel Cay Regatta in the Exumas, Bahamas. This race we came in 2nd over entire fleet, only lost by 3 minutes in a 2 hour race to a 47 footer. This was a boat for boat race, no PHRF scoring. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So cast off the bowline, Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain Blue water experience include yacht deliveries from the Abacos, Bahamas to Charleston South Carolina 2006. This delivery was a non-stop, 3 and half days, total of 500 miles. We crossed parts of the Bermuda Triangle, and during most of the delivery were over 200 miles offshore. The delivery of Black Diamond a 40 foot Jeanneau racer/cruiser has been delivered to New York City and then offshore to Florida and the Bahamas from Toronto, Canada. This delivery from NYC to Florida was completed 100 miles offshore, for a distance of over a 1000 miles non-stop to Jacksonville, Florida. Completed in what might be a cruisers record of 5 days 3 hours non-stop offshore. This fall my family and I added another 500 miles of sailing throughout much of the Bahamas. Spending 6 weeks aboard Black Diamond sailing the Abacos, Nassau and the Exumas. I then sailed the boat back to New York, completely offshore, entered a few races along the way, and back to Toronto through the Hudson River and Erie Canal. During the 2009 season, we sailed Black Diamond off the dock 148 different days out of 365, winning the Vacant Dock award the second year in a row. Most recently, 2011, completed the delivery of friends boat Tracey & Nilson Ruiz, from Tortoal, BVI to New York. Tortola to Georgetown Bahamas in 5 days non-stop. Last leg from Charleston to New York over the momorial day long week-end non-stop Friday to Monday in 4 days. All completed safe and sound without incedent. Need any deliveries let me know. I am also an Open Water Certified diver and an active member of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, certifications included Power/Sail boat handling, Seamanship Sail, Piloting/charting, GPS Navigation, Extended Offshore Cruising and a VHF Radio operation license. I hope to further my education, qualifications and experience in long distance cruising and racing. One of my goals is to obtain a commercial Captains License. Feel free to contact me at er@radonicrodgers.com

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